Leveraging the power of citizen engagement to dramatically improve customer service, agency focus and cost efficiency.
OGI Conference - Seeking Your Input!
April 29, 2010 at 10:45 pm #99449
This coming Wednesday, I have the honor of moderating a session at the Open Government conference titled Engaging Internal Customers, and I'd like your input! Three of the countries best and brightest will be sharing their wisdom and experience with the audience.
Background: Most of the discussion about successful engagement focuses on external customers – how companies can engage customers, how government agencies can engage citizens. Yet for a successful cultural shift to openness, transparency and collaboration, and to achieve the mission, agencies need to think about how best to engage their own internal teams and stakeholders, from getting buy-in for new initiatives from top leadership, to getting participation and cooperation from the employees who will need to actually executive these initiatives.
Attendees and panelists will discuss:
Tools and technologies that facilitate intra-agency communication
Tips for engaging up and down, across the organization
Strategies for making internal customers feel empowered to achieve the agency’s mission
Here's where you come in!:
As the moderator, I get to ask any questions I want to!! The next few days I'll be preparing questions for the panelists.
What questions would YOU like me to ask? Please post freely below.
May 4, 2010 at 11:50 pm #99461
What an honor to get to be a moderator! Thinking about internal customers the following statistic from an article by Government Executive.com comes to mind.
"Work-life balance was more of a factor for younger cohorts of employees than older ones, the survey found. While 41 percent of respondents age 50 and older who expressed interest in SES positions said work-life balance concerns were a major consideration, half of respondents under 40 who were interested in joining the SES felt this way."
I wonder what government agencies are doing to attract and keep young talent considering that work-life balance is more important than ever.
May 6, 2010 at 1:05 pm #99459
Wow! Carolina, what a great question! I didn't get this in time to incorporate it into the session, but I completely agree that this is an important issue to address.
I know some agencies are being more aggressive with teleworking, and work-life balance is one of the driving forces at work there. But my feeling is that this topic isn't getting enough play yet. We should be considering it not only from the perspective of it being the right thing to do, but from the perspective of smart pipeline and recruiting strategy.
I personally went through the SES selection process & made it into the final round. I walked away for two reasons: 1. the job I was being considered for did not have enough of a mission for me to want to dedicate my energy towards 2. the culture I was stepping into would have sucked every bit of strength an energy I had - energy and strength I need to raise a family and feel some sense of the work-life balance you're talking about.
Your question strikes a chord with me, as I've always felt that there has to be a better way. My sense of duty and honor is no less than my colleagues who are busting themselves over the rocks of 12+ hour days. I simply have transferred my sense of duty and honor to what I believe is bigger picture than the office space.
Here's some good news: Not only are the panelists that I moderated for on GovLoop, but there are a good many other really smart people on this site who probably share a passion for this subject. Start a group on Work-Life balance and see who joins and what happens! I bet you get some people who would be eager to engage.
May 6, 2010 at 2:15 pm #99457
David, thank you for your honest feedback. I think starting a Work-Life balance group is an excellent idea and luckily, we are not alone. OPM is launching a Workforce Flexibility Initiative pilot program which will kick start in June.
I was extremely impressed to see this article. "Under the Results-Only Work Environment program (ROWE), nearly 400 OPM employees from a range of job functions will be permitted to work wherever and whenever they choose as long as their work gets done. Supervisors will be expected to "manage for results" and trust employees to complete their tasks. " I think the more trust you give certain individuals, the more they will amaze you.
The article states, officials announced the program on March 31 and it has been in the assessment and education phases since. ROWE pilot program will present "solid data-gathering protocols" and certainly make government jobs a lot more attractive.
Here is the best part
OPM's data analysis team estimated that 30 percent of federal employees who teleworked during the February snow storms in Washington offset about $30 million daily in lost productivity.
May 7, 2010 at 5:17 pm #99455
May 7, 2010 at 5:49 pm #99453
One issue that I see a lot is "where" in the organization (level, function) the internal customer is may determine engagement. This prompts two questions:
1) Are there some internal customers that are "more important" and what determines that?
2) Is there a difference in internal customer engagement between program functions and administrative functions? e.g. Are those functions who deal more with external customers more engaged internally, than say, support functions like IT, HR, Finance, etc.?
May 7, 2010 at 7:04 pm #99451
I'd have a hard time answering this question when it's posed as broadly as it is. So I'm instinctively going to try to focus it a bit. Tell me if my assumptions leads someplace you didn't ask me to go.
First, I don't think that there is a one-size-fits-all answer to your first question. Context like the current state and maturity of our organization and the problem we're trying to solve drive where we place emphasis at a particular time. I hesitate to use the word "importance" because without every part, the whole system doesn't work.
If I had to pick any one thing that I would emphasize in every situation it would be the white space between internal organizational elements. Overlooking dependencies and coordinating mechanisms leads to fragmentation, silos, mis-communication, etc. Customers will sense this when they get two different answers from two different parts of your organization.
WRT #2, I'm going to take a stab - once again based on my own assumptions -this time as a business owner. I tend to look at organizations as a collection of 8 elements:
- Laws, policies and regulations
- Product and/or service
I believe that it is our job to keep these 8 elements in harmony & to keep them all focused on explicit strategic outcomes. To do that properly, we must understand the relationship that they each have with one another & give each what it needs to be successful.
I'm not sure I answered your question, but that's why it's great to have lots of other smart people here. Maybe someone else read your question differently. 🙂
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